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The cover of the February 2015 issue of Lexpert magazine.Handout

Lexpert identifies and reports on emerging business issues and practice areas in the business of law. Whether online, in our magazine or the DealsWire e-newsletter, we chronicle deals and lawsuits of interest, and cover issues of broad concern to the legal profession and those who purchase legal services. We hope you enjoy this sample of our latest content.

From the DealsWire: Rio Alto, CP/Dream, Saputo, Standard Life, Billy Bishop

The Lexpert DealsWire (subscribe here) documents facts, figures and key legal players behind recent deals. This week's announced deal spotlight highlights key players and figures in Tahoe Resource's proposed $1.4-billion stock swap for Rio Alto Mining.

In our closed deals section, we look at CP Rail's joint real estate venture with DREAM Unlimited, called Dream Van Horne Properties; Grupo Bimbo's $120-million acquisition of Saputo Bakery; the high-profile $4-billion takeover of Standard Life's Canadian operations by Manulife Financial Corp.; Mattamy Homes' purchase of Monarch Corp. for $335-million; and the sale of the Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport Passenger Terminal by Porter Aviation to Nieuport Aviation Infrastructure Partners.

Korean bid for BlackBerry would face review

Shareholders won't have the last word if Samsung Electronics takes a run at BlackBerry, according to foreign investment lawyers. Any foreign acquisition of the eponymous Canadian smartphone maker will trigger a national security review – one that may not look favourably upon a Korean suitor.

Will law firms dominate much longer?

"Alternative business structures" for law firms are highly controversial in the profession because they allow non-lawyers to participate in the ownership of law firms and allow entities other than law firms to offer legal services. But many countries, including the U.K. and Australia, now permit these structures, and they may come to Canada soon. Many in the legal profession are now asking themselves how much longer the traditional law firm model will dominate how legal services are delivered in Canada.

Shareholder activism gets granular

Activist investors in Canada are increasingly focusing on detailed operational decisions. The older-style shareholder activist, typically an institutional investor fighting for a seat at the boardroom table, has been shoved aside by the new generation of mainly U.S.-based hedge funds that generally push for a whole new board and changes in senior management. Whether this is a positive development depends on whom you ask.

Addressing the patent deficit

Canada is among the worst developed nations in the world when it comes to patent issuances, and that has grave implications for business. Tech M&A lawyer George Takach has a solution, though. Just drill the importance of patents into university students early on – before they enter the business world.

Vocational law school

And in his Last Word column, Paul Paton, the University of Alberta's dean of law, writes about the crisis afflicting law students unable to find articling positions. Mr. Paton says law school substitutes for on-the-job training may never be good enough to replace the real thing.